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Wrapping up the year with Spotify Wrapped

December 3, 2021
Photo by Madison Echlin | The State News

Spotify came out with their yearly "Spotify Wrapped" on Dec. 1, giving their users the unique experience to look back on their year in the music that resonated and reflected their past experiences.

These lists of everyone's top artists, songs and podcasts took social media by storm flooding every Snapchat or Instagram story.

"Music has such a big impact on so many people especially at the college age," journalism freshman Charlotte Bongratz said. "I feel like people who share their Spotify Wrapped are not only looking for other people who listen to the same kind of music but also are like 'Here is something that encapsulates my personality in some way.'”

Many of the top artists this year included Taylor Swift and Olivia Rodrigo with both of these artists having a whirlwind of a year. However, older bands like One Direction were also featured on many Wrapped lists, proving that nostalgia is still in.

While many people had repeat, popular artists on their lists, others wanted to show off their more unique tastes. Ean Montague, host of the "Flashback" at Impact 89 FM and masters student, had all older artists in his top five.

His Wrapped reflected his show on Impact with lots of New Wave 80s music.

“I don’t know that if I would have not worked at the show this year that New Wave would have been the top genre," Montague said. "I already liked New Wave music and it probably would have been near the top, but for the last several months of the year when I started working at Impact, I listened to a lot of New Wave to do research of different songs for the show and I made a list of every single 80s song."

This also made his music stand out from regular Wrapped playlists.

"I don't think many people around my age listen to as much as older music like I do," Montague said. "I’m not sure if it's a point of pride for me, but I think it does show my personality a little bit. It shows I am nostalgic for times when I wasn't even born."

Others like Bongratz enjoyed a music taste that normally wouldn't apply to others such as her top five songs that featured her favorite anime intro and outro themes.

This uniqueness is something that people try and strive for in their Spotify Wrapped when sharing it with the world.

"I think it's a sense of individuality as well," hospitality business sophomore Aislin Riccardelli said. "It's your own thing and no one else has the same Spotify Wrapped as you."

Spotify Wrapped also lets people explore different genres, which many found to be niche or didn't know existed. The popular specified genres included dance-pop, jam band, and new wave.

"I didn't even know Midwest Emo was a thing," Bongratz said about one of her unique, top genres.

Another point of importance people share on their Wrapped is what percentage of a fan they are of their top artists.

"I think some people are trying to achieve that accolade for their favorite artist," history education senior Evan Coberly said.

Coberly, who is also a volunteer for the Airstaff and Music Review Team at Impact 89 FM and musician, said that whether or not a person is a top listener or has the most unique list or doesn't even have Spotify, it was inevitable that Wrapped was filling up everyone's social media feed.

“With or without Spotify, music is something everybody can enjoy and connect with," Coberly said. "Being able to see everyone’s Wrapped is really a fun experience and now it's something everyone looks forward to."

Coberly said that the expectation when you receive your Wrapped is that it's a requirement to share it with your fellow music fans.

"People like themselves and talking about themselves and to have a top ten list of their own preferences is cool,” Montague said.

While this is a fun way to share our music taste online, it is also a marketing strategy for the company, creating a conversation on social media for its streaming service.

“Spotify is the only company that can take mining user data and turn it into a fun thing,” Montague said.

Bongartz said that this strategy is super effective because it appeals to the general public and is unique to Spotify alone.

While Apple Music is now stepping into this realm with their Replay for the end of the year, many believe that Spotify has done this engagement better and more creatively for the past couple of years with more success before the relevance of Apple Music.

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Even if there is a business aspect behind the operation, it still feels special to Spotify users, Bongratz said.

“It's our inner thoughts," she said. "It's our personalities, it's sharing a bit of yourself to the people you are friends with."

Spotify Wrapped seems to find something important for everyone to focus on in their music taste, making the wrapping up of the year feel nostalgic for everyone looking back.

“Spotify is the number one streaming app and I think people like to hear things about themselves and things we might not typically think of," Coberly said. "I think I have a good grasp of what I listen to, but being able to see what you are actually into and show it off to everyone. It's fun and fits in with the point of social media."

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